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Voice phishing is a new form of cyber crime and 12 members of one group is now facing charges after their arrest and seizure of EUR 15,000 in cash and digital evidence in the case.

Belgian and Dutch judicial and law enforcement authorities, supported by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol and Eurojust conducted the investigation.

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Earlier this year, following months of judicial and law enforcement cooperation, Belgium and the Netherlands conducted simultaneous arrests and house searches.

Investigations to identify potential criminal connections in other Member States are ongoing.

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In this case, the potential victims in Belgium first received an email, seemingly from a Belgian bank, asking for personal information. In the second phase, the criminals, located in the Netherlands, made direct contact with the potential victims in Belgium by telephone to gain access to private and personal information. The collected information subsequently ended up used to access bank accounts in Belgium and transfer money. The Belgian victims and banks suffered millions of euros in losses.

Eurojust and EC3 facilitated cooperation between Belgian and Dutch judicial and law enforcement authorities by hosting coordination and operational meetings and facilitating the exchange of information within the framework of a joint investigation team (JIT). EC3 also provided valuable analytical and forensic support to the JIT.

“This case is another example of organized cybercriminals setting up teams to act like legitimate representatives of established businesses, who then lure innocent victims into disclosing personal information,” said Troels Oerting, Head of EC3. “The criminals misuse this harvested information to steal the victims’ identities or money.”

Europol and Eurojust advise citizens to be very cautious when receiving “cold calls.” Never disclose your PIN, password or other personal details to any strangers – no genuine company would ask for this information.

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